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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, October 12, 2012 - Volume 40 Issue 41
Gay TV characters on the rise
Section One
ALL STORIES
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Gay TV characters on the rise

GLAAD survey finds this season is the most LGBT-inclusive ever

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Associate Editor

If you think TV is becoming more Gay, you're not mistaken. The number of LGBT characters on scripted broadcast network television is at its highest-ever level in the new fall season, according to the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD). And the total on cable TV is also going up.

On October 5, GLAAD released its 17th annual 'Where We Are on TV' report, which found that 4.4% of actors appearing regularly on prime-time network drama and comedy series during the 2012-13 season will portray LGBT characters. This is up from 2.9% in 2011, which saw a decline in what had been a growing yearly trend.

The study reviewed 97 scripted TV programs scheduled to air in the upcoming season on the five major broadcast networks (CBS, NBC, ABC, Fox, and The CW), counting a total of 701 regular characters. Of that number, 31 were identified as LGBT.

Shows like The New Normal and Go On have contributed to the rising number of LGBT characters on broadcast TV. Girls and Charlie Sheen's new FX comedy Anger Management have added to the growing number on cable.

REFLECTS SOCIETAL TREND
'It is vital for networks to weave complex and diverse story lines of LGBT people in the different programs they air,' said GLAAD President Herndon Graddick. 'More and more Americans have come to accept their LGBT family members, friends, co-workers, and peers, and as audiences tune into their favorite programs, they expect to see the same diversity of people they encounter in their daily lives.'

According to GLAAD, ABC is the Gayest network, with 10 out of 194, or 5.2%, of their regular characters identified as LGBT.

Fox, which led last year's list, now ranks second with six LGBT characters out of 118 total series regulars, or 5.1%.

CBS was acknowledged as the most-improved network, with four out of 142 LGBT series regulars, or 2.8%, up from 0.7% last year.

The network's lineup represents 'an authentic and conscious effort by CBS to improve its diversity,' the study said.

Regular Gay and Lesbian characters on what the study termed 'mainstream' cable television has also risen this season to 35, up from 29 last season.

Showtime leads with 12 LGBT characters. The study also cited HBO, FX, Adult Swim, ABC Family, MTV, Syfy, and TeenNick.

The HBO vampire drama True Blood remains cable's most inclusive series, featuring six LGBT characters.

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